We have all heard people quote sayings such as “Jesus, others and You.” It seems to imply that we are to look out for other people before we look out for ourselves. I have questioned that doctrine and found it wanting. Let me explain.
If you are on an airplane and the oxygen masks drop down, your first instruction is to put the mask on yourself first so that you can function to help the person next to you if they need help. It is the same with physical, emotional and spiritual issues. You cannot get help for other people unless you get help for yourself first. So, the song about putting yourself last is not appropriate teaching in situations where you need help and cannot deal with the pain of other people.
I personally think that the song and other sayings like it are an attempt to teach us to be considerate of others. It was never intended to teach that we always are to put ourselves last. The teaching comes from scripture. Phil 2:3 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,” which teaches us to not be selfish or conceited. But it does not say that you do not take care of yourself. This scripture in context is about imitating Christ, loving others, not being selfish. It goes on to say that we should not grumble or argue but to be of one mind, united and pure so that we can be blameless when we come face to face with Christ. Be gracious to others. The scriptures also say that we are to guard our hearts above all else. Phil 4:7; Luke 21:34; 2 Tim 1:14; Prov. 4:23 each are scriptures about taking care of yourself.
1 Tim 4:16 says, “Take care of yourself, concentrate on your teaching, and stick with these things. If you do, then you will be effective in bringing salvation to yourself and all who hear you.” We as Christians are all ministers who are to take care of ourselves physically, emotionally and spiritually so that we will be effective in the ministry that God has called us to. 1 Cor 6:19 says, ”Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;” Our bodies are to be cared for as holy temples where the Holy Spirit dwells. If we do not take care of our bodies, we are violating God’s temple. We need to have as much respect and care for our own selves as we are asked to have for others.
Look to your own things first. Luke 6:41 tells us to take care of our own issues first so that we can see clearly to help others with their issues. Let’s not pretend that we don’t have any issues. That is prideful thinking because we all have issues to deal with. Here is the good part. When we have dealt with our own issues, God will use those experiences to help others. God never wastes what we go through. When we are transformed in an area of our life, God uses that in ministry to brings others to healing.
How awesome is that?!? Who would have thought that God could use me? In my brokenness, He could not. But as He heals my heart and transforms my mind, my ministry can grow.
I know this is a shorter blog this time but I want you to think about what I have said here. Take care of yourself so that you can be more effective in serving the Lord.
God bless you all!